Soldotna resident Leah McCabe receives her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the The Soldotna Professional Pharmacy and Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management’s walk-in clinic at Soldotna Prep School on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna resident Leah McCabe receives her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the The Soldotna Professional Pharmacy and Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management’s walk-in clinic at Soldotna Prep School on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

Convenience is key moving forward with vaccination, officials say

On Friday, one of the first mass walk-in vaccine clinics on the peninsula was offered at Soldotna Prep School.

Health care providers are changing their approach to COVID-19 vaccination — moving toward making the shots as easily accessible and convenient as possible.

On Friday, the Soldotna Professional Pharmacy and the Borough Office of Emergency Management teamed up to offer one of the first mass walk-in vaccine clinics on the peninsula at Soldotna Prep School.

Justin Ruffridge, a pharmacist with Soldotna Professional, said on Friday that they are trying to eliminate vaccine barriers.

“When you’re ready to do that (get vaccinated), we’re here,” he said. “There are no hurdles.”

Office of Emergency Management Operations Manager Bud Sexton said there are still people coming to get their shots at every clinic.

“There are many people every week making that decision, and we are encouraged by that,” he said.

Soldotna resident Leah McCabe got her first Pfizer-BioNTech dose last Friday. She saw a sign advertising the walk-in clinic in town earlier that day.

McCabe recently accepted a job with Pacific Star Seafoods Inc. in Kenai, and said her employers are requiring the vaccine. She said she was definitely on the fence about whether or not she was going to get the shot, but ended up doing it for work.

“I wish there was more information about the vaccine but overall I’m happy to get it,” McCabe said on Friday. “I think it’s a good step for everybody.”

When she arrived on Friday for her shot, she filled out some paperwork and decided which brand she wanted. Afterward, McCabe waited in the observation area to make sure she didn’t have an allergic reaction.

Salamatof resident Erik Hendrickson saw one of the clinic’s flyers at River City Books and decided to walk in for his vaccine.

He said he wanted to wait four months to see how everyone who got vaccinated earlier in the year reacted to the shots before he got his.

Hendrickson ultimately chose the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Friday so he’d be fully inoculated by the time he travels next month.

Another Soldotna resident, Leena Elmore, said she came to the school to get her Johnson & Johnson shot because it was close to her house.

She said she hadn’t decided on whether or not she wanted the vaccine until last week, but ultimately decided on the single-dose shot so she’d be safer traveling this summer.

Sexton said he and his team have fielded a lot of the public’s vaccine questions during the clinics, and that some people have decided on the spot to get the shots after speaking with clinic volunteers.

Vaccination rates across the borough and the state have been increasing at a slower rate over the past month. Ruffridge said this is not a cause for concern, but that these are just “new phases of vaccination.”

He said he hosted clinics a few months ago in which his team would administer 800 vaccines in a day. On Friday he said a decent day would be if 60 people got their shots.

Anyone who gets vaccinated, Ruffridge said, is likely overcoming a hurdle and having the courage to do something they might not have wanted to do.

“That makes it worthwhile in my opinion,” he said.

The Soldotna Professional Pharmacy will also be hosting a regular walk-in vaccine clinic at the “Y” intersection in Soldotna throughout the summer. The kickoff was on Monday evening and will continue weekdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Vehicles are unleaded at the Seward Harbor after being moved from Lowell Point on Sunday, May 22, 2022 in Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management)
Lowell Point barge services move 110-plus cars to Seward

The services were covered by the Kenai Peninsula Borough and ended Monday

Anglers fish on the Kenai River on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Watershed Forum receives matching grant from Conoco

The Kenai Watershed Forum was given a grant from ConocoPhillips to fund… Continue reading

A beach on the eastern side of Cook Inlet is photographed at Clam Gulch, Alaska, in June 2019. The Alaska Board of Fisheries is implementing new shellfish regulations in Cook Inlet. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Fish and Game closes East Cook Inlet razor clam fisheries

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has closed the Cook Inlet… Continue reading

Anastasia Scollon (left) and Willow King (right) stand in The Goods + Sustainable Grocery and Where it’s At mindful food and drink on Monday, May 16, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Sustainable shopping finds new home in Soldotna

The Collective used to operate out of Cook Inletkeeper’s Community Action Studio

The Alaska State Capitol is seen on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Legislature modernizes 40-year-old definition of consent in sexual assault cases

‘Alaska took a gargantuan step forward in updating our laws,’ says deputy attorney general

Project stakeholders cut a ribbon at the Nikiski Shelter of Hope on Friday, May 20, 2022, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Stakeholders celebrate opening of Nikiski shelter

The shelter officially opened last December

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks with reporters Thursday about the state’s budget at the Alaska State Capitol. Dunleavy said lawmakers had sent a complete budget, and that there was no need for a special session.
Dunleavy: No need for special session

Governor calls budget “complete”

A magnet promoting the Alaska Reads Act released sits atop a stack of Alaskan-authored and Alaska-centric books. Lawmakers passed the Alaska Reads Act on the last day of the legislative session, but several members of the House of Representatives were upset with the bill, and the way it was passed. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
In last-minute move, Legislature passes early reading overhaul

Rural lawmakers push back on Alaska Reads Act

Graduates wait to receive diplomas during Connections Homeschool’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Connections honors more than 100 graduates

The home-school program held a ceremony Thursday in Soldotna

Most Read